Introduction: What you’ll get in this book

Ready to start? (Photo by Jukan Tateisi.)

What this book is about, and why it will change your life

Note: this chapter is part of a book on how to live your best life. You can view the whole series here.

This book is about three things:

  1. where you are in life,
  2. where you want to be, and
  3. how to get there.

This book is not about Batman, drunks, or mayonnaise-eating contests. But you will read about all these—and more—to illustrate key points.

It’ll be fun, I promise.

Ready? Then let’s kick off with a quick story:

A drunk loses his keys and is looking for them under a lamppost. A cop comes over and asks what he’s doing.

I’m looking for my keys,” he says. “I lost them over there.

The cop looks puzzled. “Then why are you looking for them all the way over here?

Because” replied the drunk. “The light is so much better here.

Good joke.

But sadly, this is how many of us live: we look for purpose where it’s easy—rather than where it is. Although we may search high and low, we’ll never find our purpose by looking in the wrong place.

Let me ask you a question: Do you know what you truly want in life, and where to find it? Or are you—like the drunk—only searching where it’s convenient?

Whichever your answer, this book will help you. You’ll understand what you want (starting in Chapter 1), and then dive into how to get it (starting in Chapter 3).

Because this is a book for people who want to think big and get breakthrough results, we aren’t aiming for small gains; we’re aiming for 10x results.

10x: the act of improving by ten times. (A 10x improvement, expressed as a percentage, is 900%.)

 

Example: Michael used to run 1 mile. Now he runs 10. Michael improved his running by 10x.

I want you to achieve 10x results. That’s the purpose of this book. If you clearly define your goals, build routines, and follow through on them, you may very well achieve 10x results.

And if you don’t, no worries. God forbid you only get a 5x increase. Or even 2x. Or even 5 percent. That’s still an improvement, and improvements compound. That’s important.

Of course, you can’t improve everything by 10x. You can’t sleep 10x longer. You can’t breathe 10x more efficiently. And you sure as hell can’t 10x your height, weight, or the size of your <insert body part here>.

That’s impossible. But what is possible, dear reader, is all around you.

Ask yourself, what if you could:

  • Increase your income by 10x?
  • Get 10x more done?
  • Spend 10x more time doing what makes you feel most alive?
  • Read 10x more books?
  • Travel to 10x more places?
  • Run 10x farther?
  • Do 10x more pushups?
  • Have 10x more friends?
  • Learn 10x more things?
  • Feel 10x better about yourself?

If you’d like to learn how, keep reading. Because I’ve created this system to help you get breakthrough results—in any part of your life—through scientifically proven techniques.

In this book, you’ll discover how to:

  • define what you want from life (and how to get it).
  • increase your results by up to 10x.
  • create a rock-solid set of good habits that force you to improve every day, practically on autopilot.
  • stop wasting time and get rid of to-do lists forever.
  • block the three types of distractions (one of which is so sneaky, I’ve never seen it mentioned anywhere else).
  • stop procrastinating, once and for all.
  • define your goals—in a fun, easy way that’s similar to playing a board game.
  • conserve your willpower—so you can use it when you need it most.
  • get rid of anxiety, once and for all.
  • follow through on everything you do—and discover the “magic word” that increases follow-through by 61% (and as high as 700% in some cases).

It’s a lot to promise, I know. But once you follow these techniques, I’m 100% sure this book will change your life.

Now, you may be wondering: “How can I be so sure these techniques will work for me?”

Good question. To help you understand why this will work for you, I’ll explain…

Who I am—and how I can help

Back in 2007, I hit a low point. Nothing dramatic—there weren’t any ninjas kicking down my door or anything like that. I just felt… down. Like I didn’t have any purpose.

So I decided to make a change, and that’s…

What turned out to be the craziest journey in my life

I read everything on personal development…

I tore through productivity books like Getting Things Done, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and The 4-Hour Workweek

I wrestled with philosophical texts like Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh, and Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations

I pushed through hundreds of dry, boring-ass scientific studies…

And you know what? It paid off. Just a little bit at first—and then a lot.

My wife Darcie and I launched several businesses. A few succeeded; many didn’t. Thanks to the few successes, we took a year off and traveled through Asia. That year gave me time to reflect, to define my goals, and to plan.

We then headed back to Silicon Valley—where we both grew up—and I stumbled into a sweet gig: working on Google’s marketing team.

From there, things sped up. We continued to launch new businesses and started buying other companies.

Over the past several years, we’ve also advised over 100 businesses—from startups to Fortune 500 companies—and grew every single one of them that implemented our advice.

Based on what worked, I formulated a 10x Life “system” to help people:

  • gain a clear sense of purpose,
  • map out the big picture,
  • set challenging (yet achievable) goals,
  • budget their energy and willpower,
  • build rock-solid routines,
  • block distractions, and
  • follow through.

Today, I’m happier, healthier, and wealthier than I’ve ever been—all thanks to this proven system. In fact, I have seen a 10x improvement in many aspects of my life.

For example:

  • My wife and I went from writing for, um, crickets—to writing for over 100 websites, including Forbes, The Huffington Post, and Business Insider. (A 100x increase.)
  • I trained for and ran a 50-mile race (which is 10x longer than I’d ever run before).
  • My wife and I now own multiple businesses.
  • We have advised over 100+ businesses and made them tens of millions of dollars.
  • We went from paying full-fare for flights to paying five cents on the dollar with frequent flyer miles. (A 20x increase in buying power.)
  • We went from saving 10% of our income—to over 90%. (A 9x increase in savings.)
  • In 2014, we sold everything we owned to travel the world (and we’re still going strong).

Seeing these results, I realized that…

10x results are the result of virtuous cycles

One of my biggest breakthroughs came when I realized that success comes from virtuous cycles.

You see, productivity, happiness, focus, purpose, confidence—they’re all blended in this crazy cosmic salsa we call life.

  • To be happy we must have
  • To achieve our purpose we must be
  • To be productive we need productive
  • To have productive habits, we must understand the purpose behind the habits.

The four points above, as you can see, flow into each other. And if you improve one, even slightly, you improve them all. It creates a never-ending, always-improving, virtuous cycle. (We’ll discuss virtuous cycles in the next chapter.)

That’s why this book is different: It will help you—through scientifically proven methods—create virtuous cycles in your life. You’ll also discover how each method works on multiple levels—each method satisfying a distinct psychological need—and how to integrate these methods into your life, so you can start seeing results right away.

And speaking of results, I’ll show you how each technique performs—usually in clinical studies—and explain why they work. Because one thing you won’t find in this book is…

Crackpot pseudoscience

According to some, “affirmations” and the “law of attraction” are all you need to achieve your dreams. “Just throw your intentions out there, man,” this doctrine says, “and the universe will, you know, take care of the rest.”

Affirmation: in New Age terminology, an affirmation is a carefully formatted statement that should be repeated to one’s self and written down frequently. No study has proven its effectiveness.

 

Law of attraction: by thinking about positive or negative thoughts, a person “attracts” positive or negative experiences into their life. No study has proven its existence or effectiveness.

Although there are benefits to positive thinking and motivation, it’s inaccurate—and irresponsible—to suggest that’s all you need.

In fact, several studies show that people who just visualize success are less likely to achieve it. Don’t get me wrong: visualizations work, if properly used. (We’ll discuss how to use visualization correctly in the next few chapters.) But visualization is just one ingredient; to suggest it is all you need is like saying you only need flour to make cupcakes.

This type of incomplete, half-advice is either lazy thinking or snake-oil douchebaggery designed to make you feel better now—while hurting you in the long-run.

Because of these over-simplified, under-thought adages, I decided to shake things up a bit…

That’s why every single piece of advice in this book—every tactic, approach, and suggestion—is backed and cited by scientific research.

Furthermore, these techniques aren’t theory; they’re what I do, every day, to help me (and the businesses I own and advise) move forward and succeed. I practice what I preach.

However, I don’t recommend you blindly follow my advice based solely on anecdotal evidence. That’s why I’ve included scientific research for every technique—so you can decide what works for you. (And by deciding for yourself, you assert your autonomy; we’ll discuss this important subject further in Chapter 6.)

Although I originally used these techniques to improve my focus and develop good habits, I discovered they helped in several other areas, too.

For example, I also:

  • enjoyed greater peace of mind,
  • had higher self-esteem,
  • overcame several personal fears,
  • got more done each day,
  • felt better about myself and my life’s purpose,
  • stopped procrastinating,
  • got into a “flow state” while working, and
  • experienced less stress.

It’s your turn, now. But before we dive right in, let’s quickly cover…

What you’ll get in this book

PART 1: ZOOM OUT

This section (chapters 1-4) takes a high-level and strategic view of your life, as if you’re a photographer, zooming out to get the big picture. I’ll help you map out your life’s purpose, define your goals, and gain a deeper understanding of what you want—and what’s holding you back.

Chapter 1: Find your purpose. You’ll discover questions to uncover your true purpose in life, which will serve as the bedrock for everything else in this book.

Chapter 2: Pinpoint and prioritize your goals. I’ll show you a free tool that lets you quickly visualize your goals—and gain instant clarity about what you want to do in life—so you can wake up every day, ready to kick ass.

Chapter 3: Optimize your workflow. You’ll add your goals into a simple framework to help you succeed. (You’ll also discover why To-Do lists are ineffective, and what to do instead.)

Chapter 4: Maximize your willpower. You’ll learn about willpower: how to conserve it, how to strengthen it, and when you should—and shouldn’t—rely on willpower. (Most people get this all wrong, and burn themselves out; instead, you’ll discover how to save your willpower for when you need it most.)

PART 2: ZOOM IN

In this section (chapters 5-7), we will zoom in on your life’s goals—and use scientifically-proven methods to achieve them. You’ll discover simple methods to improve your focus, develop good habits, block distractions, and follow through on your goals.

Chapter 5: Build rock-solid routines. You’ll learn how to build rock-solid routines, so that you can improve, each and every day—seemingly on autopilot.

Chapter 6: Block distractions. You’ll also learn why we self-sabotage with distractions, the crippling effects of distraction, and the “magic word” proven to reduce distractions by at least 64%.

Chapter 7: Follow through. You’ll discover 11 different techniques to instantly strengthen your follow-through, so you can get more done, starting today.

Although you can skip ahead, I strongly urge you to read this book from beginning to end. Each chapter builds on the next, so you’ll miss out on the full experience by skipping from chapter to chapter.

Note: this chapter is part of a book on how to live your best life. You can view the whole series here.